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Scene Designer

by captaincomic (Updated on 2016-05-03)

Note: This is a reference manual for those already familiar with Stencyl. If you are a newcomer, we recommend running through Chapter 4 in full instead. Chapter 4 covers the fundamental concepts behind scenes.


  • What is the Scene Designer?
  • How to use the Scene Designer
  • Reference
  • Tips & Tricks

What is the Scene Designer?

The Scene Designer helps you build levels for your game. We call these levels, scenes.

Scene Designer

How to Use the Scene Designer

Summary: Stencyl works like Photoshop, Illustrator and other popular drawing apps.

Selecting & Moving Objects

To select a single object, click on it while the Select tool is active.

Selection Tool

To select multiple objects, create a box around the objects you want to select by clicking the background and dragging, or CTRL + Click every object you want to select.

Once an item is selected, you can move it or change the layer it's on. To move an item or number of selected items, click and drag it/them. To change the layer items are on, right click them and click one of the send or bring items.

Adding Tiles

  1. Select a Tile (or several!) from the Palette.
  2. Click and drag around the main area to place them.

Note: To remove a tile that is already placed in the scene click on that tile and press the " backspace " key.

Tip: To select multiple tiles at once, click and drag to draw a box around the tiles you want to select. Selected tiles are indicated by a box with a yellow border.

Adding Actors

  1. Select an Actor from the Palette.
  2. Click to place the Actor. You can click and drag around to place multiple Actors.

Changing Layers (for an object)

Layers determine whether an object is drawn at in front of, or behind other objects.

  1. Right-click the desired object.
  2. You'll see this menu. Pick the desired option.

Layer Change Menu


Task Bar (Part 1 of 6)

Located at the top, the Task Bar lets you switch between different areas of the Scene Designer.

Task Bar

  • Scene is the actual scene editing area.
  • Behaviors lets you manage the Scene Behaviors you have attached to this scene.
  • Events lets you manage the Events you've attached to this scene.
  • Physics lets you adjust the physics settings for this scene, such as gravity.
  • Atlases lets you manage resource usage for this scene using the Atlas Manager.
  • Properties let yous set your scene's size, the background color and name.

Toolbar (Part 2 of 6)

The toolbar gives you control over what you can interact with in your scene. It also lets you change the current scene's display options.


Layer Mode

The Layer Mode determines whether your selections only grab from the current layer or from all layers (default).

Working Mode

The Working Modes let you work with specific kinds of objects within a scene.

  • Actors and Tiles (default)
  • Tiles Only
  • Actors Only
  • Joints
  • Regions
  • Custom Terrain

The Rest

Other toolbar items

  • Take a Snapshot
  • Show Scene Boundaries
  • Show Grid
  • Customize Grid
  • Always Snap to Grid
  • Play Animations
  • Toggle Opacity and Blend Modes Preview (for Layers and Backgrounds)

Toolbox (Part 3 of 6)

The toolbox controls which tools are currently active.

Tip: Press SPACE to shuffle between the main tools.

  • Tools Group
    • Select Tool
    • Pencil Tool
    • Fill Tool
  • Scene Bounds Group
    • Add Column
    • Add Row
    • Remove Column
    • Remove Row
  • Scene Objects Group (double-click to select box/circle/poly)
    • Add Joint
    • Add Region
    • Add Custom Terrain
  • Zoom In/Out


Palette (Part 4 of 6)

The Palette lets you select Tiles and Actors from your game. You can then, using the Pencil Tool, place them onto the scene.

Tile Palette Actor Palette

Tip: You can select multiple tiles at once in the Palette by clicking and dragging the selection box.

Layers (Part 5 of 6)

The Layers Pane controls everything related to a Scene's layers (and backgrounds). You can reorder layers, rename them and change their properties (blend mode, opacity, scroll speed) among other things.

Layers Pane

The colored box corresponds to the color used to draw the selection box (when the Select Tool is active). This lets you tell different layers apart when selecting multiple objects at a time.

The eye toggles the visibility of the layer inside the editor. Click to toggle this setting.

The lock prevents edits to a layer. Click to toggle this setting.

The cog, when clicked, brings up a popup with properties to edit, including the name, opacity, blend mode and scroll factor.

Tip: You can also double-click a layer to rename it.

Status Bar (Part 6 of 6)

Status Bar

The bottom part of the Scene Designer will show you the x and y coordinates of the mouse as well as the zoom factor.

Tips & Tricks

  • Hold shift to snap your selection to the grid.
  • Mouse over the corner of an actor, click and drag the rotate icon to rotate the actor.
  • You can select multiple tiles at once in the Palette by clicking and dragging the selection box.
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Disclaimer: Use comments to provide feedback and point out issues with the article (typo, wrong info, etc.). If you're seeking help for your game, please ask a question on the forums. Thanks!


How create an actor on a specific layer??
0 10 years, 11 months ago
Thanks. This was actually one of the legacy articles. It's going to need some work to flesh out all the options like the one you've brought up.
0 11 years, 8 months ago
Great work on the new stencylpedia!
I suggest to add something like:

"you can right click on button in the left toolbar to:
1. add o remove columns
2. have different type of joints
... etc.


0 11 years, 8 months ago
There is a typo in the second sentence of the second paragraph of the Top Tool Bar section. "switchers" should be "switches"
0 12 years, 6 months ago

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